"There was no rest between the efforts, it was better to simulate a real race rather than do efforts with a rest in-between........You became so used to the intensity so when you got to a race it was just like you were going training."
Pro Team and Pro Continental cycling teams will race in a new UCI World Championship professional cycling Teams Time Trial event in 2012, albeit in a completely different format to the former elite amateur four man 100 km Teams Time trial event. The 100 km teams race was axed in 1994 in line with streamlining elite events at World Championships and Olympic Games. No more elite amateur category and national teams meant that all elite riders would be classed as one group of professionals, also able to compete at Olympic games. Now the contiguous line that once stood, no longer blurred between amateur and pro.
The 2012 event sees Limburg in the Netherlands as host for the UCI World Road Teams Time Trial Championships. In the run up to this years UCI World Championships we'll be taking an in depth look at the history of the 100 km Teams Time Trial in it's previous national team format for elite amateur's. The 100 km championship was last contested at the UCI Road World Championships at Agrigento in Italy in 1994, a tradition that had lasted thirty-two years which began at Salo in Lombardy in 1962.
The 100 km four man format has long been a favourite for velo aficionandos. When you talk to those who raced in this event, an overwhelming passion pours out manifested as an obsession for enduring pain and suffering whilst wrenching on a pair of handlebars for close on two hours. Raced at close to or over 50 km an hour with four riders, the cycling Teams Time Trial event, over a distance of 100 kilometres was a sure fire way of separating the men from the boys.
During 1986 an outfit from Queensland stamped their mark on this holy grail of time trialing and laid down the gauntlet to all comers for a place in Australian teams time trial history. Times recorded during training sessions on the Gold Coast highway for the 100 km distance were constantly in the 1.57's to 2.01 mark. Murray Donald recalls that usually the times were under two hours and mostly around 1 hour 58 minutes, Murray also remembers sitting on more than fifty kilometres an hour at the end of their 100 km race pace training runs. During the mid eighties a time of 1 hour and 58 minutes for 100 kilometres was going to get you on the podium at World Championships and Olympic Games.
Video: 1986 Queensland Teams Time Trial Riders together with Technical and Coaching Personnel
Milo was one of the early sponsors of cycling in Queensland, the genesis of the super fast Queensland team came from that sponsorship in 1985, so it began with Kerry Carmichael, Greg Dwiar, Jeff Leslie and Keith Lane racing the national championships that year. By January 1986 four riders, Jeff Leslie, Murray Donald, Steve Rooney and Greg Dwiar emerged as the fast paced crew responsible for setting those blistering times. The Gold Coast highway was used to test their mettle against the clock. Guided by coach Mick Glindemann, the quiet achiever - Mick's tiresome efforts paid off in the times laid down by the four eager pain merchants.
Murray Donald recounts, "In the early stages of the training we started say doing a 55 km or a 65 km full effort teams time trial, then we'd gradually increase the intensity so that you'd build up to seventy-five then eighty-five until you were just doing a hundred km full on teams time trial. You became so used to the intensity so when you got to a race it was just like you were going training. Mick was the brains behind the whole thing, there wasn't the intense racing here either there was no road racing." Once a week was an all out teams time trial, plus a Wednesday night point score race at Chandler velodrome and once or twice a week a couple of 200 kilometre loops taking in Beechmont and the steep side of Mount Tambourine. Road racing didn't begin until March so while the track season was in full swing during the summer months, track racing was included in the schedule. When the road season hit intensive racing was added to the weekly programme.
Mick Glindemann said, "There was no rest between the efforts, it was better to simulate a real race rather than do efforts with a rest in-between." Mick didn't agree with the standard model for training at the time which consisted of shorter high intensity efforts. The reasoning behind Mick's method was that you don't get a rest in a 100 kilometre Teams Time Trial race apart from a momentary lapse in intensity when you drop to the back after your turn at the front, you just have to race the full distance, so why should training be any different. In this laid the secret to the successful times consistently recorded during that year.
In April 1986 the four Queenslanders went on to record a 2.03 at the national test race held in Tasmania for Commonwealth Games selection, the same four Queenslanders going on to represent Australia at the Edinburgh games. The team's efforts in Edinburgh were hampered by poor decision making and planning, that's just how it was back then. At that time there was little organisation combined with meager financial supportin Australian road cycling at international level. The glory for Mick and the four riders, Murray, Steve, Greg and Jeff - left to fade away in time, not forgotten though - the clock having a final say in the times they recorded on the many full tilt 100 km race pace assaults on the Gold Coast Highway.
The video shows all of the Queenslanders at Mick's disposal, any one of them capable of riding fast times, look out for James Victor, Gavin Young, Kerry Carmichael, Keith Lane, Jeff Leslie, Murray Donald, Steve Rooney and Greg Dwiar plus the young rider from New South Wales is Mark Brindle. Featured at the University of Queensland testing facility is Brian MacLean, still completing his studies, testament that sports science in relation to cycling had a long way to progress, Brian clearly exerting major influence over the following decades. Look out for track sprint legend Kenrick Tucker and coach Ken Tucker too. Dick Ploog made some interesting comments about the validity of testing and it's outcomes on athletic performance.
During that era many different Australian 100 km four man teams raced at international events including World Championships and Olympic Games under difficult, varying and challenging circumstances. Sometimes self funded other times partially subsidised, scratching together whatever equipment and assistance available to reach their goals. The results achieved by individuals like Mick Glindemann not to mention the riders themselves - are symbolic of a time when resourcefulness counted for everything.
Milo bike title image by Robert Cobcroft